|FCPO Newsletter and Bible Study
||The "thin blue line" covered by the blood of Christ.
* UPDATED 09/26/2018
Sheepdogs/Officers and Supporters:
I wanted to wait until today (9/27) to post this week's newsletter and Bible study as this is the 12th anniversary of the Platte Canyon HS attack that resulted in the death of
Emily Keyes (and so many changed lives). The study will focus on the issue of evil (the final installment of what is now a 4-study series on the "WHY does God allow..." issue). Scroll down to "
When Evil Comes
And speaking of this series, here's last week's edition if you missed it: "
" Beyond that, I always
re-post past editions on our
pages. Also d
on't forget to check out the latest batch of
resources, prayer requests
posted for you below!
Here on the local front (the "front" being the Colorado Front Range), our next Centurion/FCPO-Denver "cop church" fellowship is set for this coming Tuesday,
October 2nd. Complete details are posted for you section below-right. Join us!
Stay safe on the street while seeking the Holy Spirit to help you be radically bold in Christ.
(1) Noted author, speaker, soldier and sworn officer, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman (USA-Ret.), is writing a 90-day devotional with Adam Davis to help "bulletproof" our marriages. It will be released in January but you can get a head start here: Bulletproof Marriage.
(2) Iron Guys Law Enforcement Ministries is another great resource for cops. They're also on Facebook.
(1) Be in prayer for
Jim Bontrager and his
Breaching the Barricade and
Police Appreciation Day team, myself included (see the events section below). Pray for Divine appointments to reach the lost and hurting.
(2) Pray for the family of
and the officers who came face-to-face at Platte Canyon HS twelve years ago today. See this week's study below for more.
(3) Please continue to pray for our wounded, our sick, those being investigated for just doing their jobs, and for the families (both blue and natural) of our slain. The
War on Cops
rages on (on multiple fronts, both within and without our own agencies).
(4) Pray that the truth (and the lies) will be revealed in the hearings and upcoming vote concerning Judge Kavanaugh's nomination for the Supreme Court. This has a direct impact on us in law enforcement. Rest assured, the enemy is doing everything in his limited power to keep this from occurring.
Have a prayer request or announcement you would like included here? Need prayer?
! I also post prayer requests on my Facebook page ("friend" me).
(1) The Sheepdog Seminars is led by my friends Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, Officer/Minister Jimmy Meeks and fellow church safety expert Carl Chinn (among others). Outstanding, highly recommended training for every sheepdog (sworn and unsworn alike)! The seminar schedule is on their website, including this one coming up here in CO: Pueblo Sheepdog Seminar.
(3) The Billy Graham Evangelistic Association is hosting two upcoming National Law Enforcement Retreats in late October and then in March of next year. Take your spouse!
The Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry
The Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry
is a national, FCPO-affiliated, evangelical Christian outreach to our own in law enforcement. These newsletters and Bible studies are part of this effort and past editions can be found on our
and our social media
) feeds. As always, feel free to adapt these messages for your own individual or group use and please share them with others.
The Centurion LE Ministry is lead by Police Officer and Chaplain/Evangelist Michael "MC" Williams, a 32-year (and counting) law enforcement veteran and sought-after instructor and speaker at churches [including the well-received Centurion Church Security Seminar], retreats and both law enforcement and civilian conferences and seminars around the country. Contact MC via email for more.
Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers
FCPO-USA exists to provide biblical support ("backup"), accountability and iron sharpens iron fellowship to Christian officers first in the U.S. and throughout the world as well. Our metro-Denver chapter of the Fellowship of Christian Peace Officers -- (aka FCPO Chapter 217) -- is a Centurion Law Enforcement Ministry affiliate. We meet most 1st and 3rd Tuesday evenings starting at 7 PM in the Denver-Metro suburb of Highlands Ranch (email me for address and details) for profession-focused and life-focused
Bible study, prayer and servant-warrior/sheepdog fellowship (the iron sharpens iron kind). Spouses are both welcome and encouraged to attend with their LEO and this is how you can get a FREE Centurion t-shirt or ball cap!
Our next meeting is now set for this coming Tuesday, October 2nd. JOIN US!
When Evil Comes
As I finished this final installment on the proverbial "Why?" (as in "Why does God allow evil, trials, pain, hurts, lies...?) series, we here in Colorado are remembering when evil came to a rural high school that resulted in the death of Emily Keyes (and forever changed the lives of both the survivors and the responding officers). Many asked (and continue to ask), "Why did God allow this to happen?"
Moreover, right now there is a circus of a hearing going on in Washington, D.C. concerning the allegations against U.S. Supreme Court nominee, Judge Kavanaugh. Lies? Truth? Rest assured, there are many who stand against the things of God who only desire to create division and chaos (and thus the spread of evil in these last days), and we are living in a time when anyone can accuse anyone of anything without consequences. Why would a loving, all-powerful God allow this?
We all wrestle with these difficult, age-old questions. "Why do the wicked prosper?" "Why do the righteous suffer?" "Why" does God allow evil, and what are we to do when evil comes? Understand that God is very much on the throne and has the answers to all these questions! In fact, He gives us the answers in His Word, the Bible.
The three letter answer to the "Why?" question is of course "
." To dig deeper, I want us to look at two main passages of Scripture:
(the central passage of this ministry) and then
(yes, OPEN your Bible -- this is a BIBLE study).
My paraphrase of our first passage is one that is on all our Centurion apparel: "
COPS -- God's ministers for good and a terror against evil." Above I posted our image of this with the "thin blue line" of law enforcement. In short, God has ORDAINED government (and thus the police) to be servants (the meaning of the word "minister" in the original Greek) for the law abiding and a literal terror against those who would bring evil and lawlessness upon the so-called "good" and "innocent" (stay with me here these two words). We in law enforcement are in fact the "
thin blue line" God has set good and evil in terms of civil government (law and order).
Yet time and time again we see governments failing in their God-ordained duty (including a wicked sociopath in Emperor Nero when Paul penned this passage under the direction of the Holy Spirit, and then the wickedness -- SIN -- we're seeing today in our own country). "Why!?"
Why follow God when all I get is trials, pain and hurt? If there is a God of justice in heaven, why doesn't He do something about all the injustice in the world (including here in the United States)? Why does He allow evil to come? Is it even worth following such a God?
Part of His answer to us is found in our second passage of Scripture. As with us here today, the Jews
in Malachi's day also struggled with these same questions. They were under the thumb of the exceedingly wicked yet (like America today) prosperous Medo-Persian Empire. Many Jews had become disappointed with God. He had not done for them what they had hoped. They grumbled, "If He is the God of justice, why do we see all of this injustice in the world?" Some had even slipped into cynical agnosticism, doubting that a just God even exists. Through Malachi, God shows them (and us) what to do when evil comes and when evil seems to be winning:
When evil prevails, we must not challenge, but trust in and obey the God who sends His Messiah to judge the earth.
Malachi 2:17, the peoples' complaint is registered before being answered by God in Chapter 3, verses
1-6. Let's break it down:
(1) When evil (sin) comes and God seems to delay, even believers can be prone to challenge His justice ("You have wearied the Lord with your words. But you say, "How have we wearied him?" By saying, "Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and he delights in them." Or by asking, "Where is the God of justice?" -- Malachi 2:17).
Their disappointment with God in their own trials versus the prosperity of the wicked led many of the Jews to think that morals and truth didn't matter. They thought, "There's no correlation between obedience to God and blessing in this life. So we may as well live for all the good times and good things we can get."
The prophets had predicted a glorious future for Israel. But here they were, back in the land for over 100 years after the captivity, and things were not all that glorious. Israel was still under foreign domination. She was not the center of the earth, with the nations flocking to Jerusalem with their wealth. The old folks were not sitting in the streets watching the children play securely The land was not yielding abundant produce. Just a hundred years before, Zechariah had prophesied that all of these conditions would come about. But here they were, and none of his prophecies about the glory of Israel had materialized. They weren't even close!
The rebuilt temple was a disappointment to many. It didn't compare to the former glory of Solomon's temple (
). Haggai (
) had prophesied that the latter glory of this temple would be greater than the former temple, but there was no evidence of that yet. Because of these disappointments with God's promises, many were voicing their disappointments and complaints, and even daring to question if a God of justice even existed. Some even mocked God, saying that He delights in evil people and calls them good!
Maybe you're struggling with these issues now. You thought that when you trusted Christ, He would give you an "
" and relief from major problems. Instead, you seem to have more problems than you did before! You didn't use to struggle against sin, but now it's a daily battle that you often lose. You didn't use to worry about pleasing God with your use of time and money, but now you feel guilty for squandering those things. In fact, now you feel guilty about things that you didn't even know were sin before you became a Christian. You've prayed a lot, but rather than getting better, your problems seem to grow worse. You wonder, "What difference does it make if I follow the Lord or not? Where is the God of justice?"
Even if you have not verbalized these thoughts, God knows about them. Malachi says that such words weary the Lord! He is using human language to apply to God, since there is a sense in which Almighty God cannot be weary (
). But there is another sense in which we can try God's patience (
) and "wear Him out," much like a parent gets weary of hearing his child's constant complaining. So we need to check our thoughts when they run in this direction while paying careful attention to God's answer to this difficult problem of what to do
when evil comes
and even prevails (for a season).
(2) God's answer to the problem of evil (and sin in general) is to send the Messiah (God the Son -- Jesus Christ) to judge the earth (Malachi 3:1-6).
God has a plan to right every wrong and punish all evildoers. That plan centers in birth, death and resurrection of the Messiah, the Lord Jesus Christ. "But," Malachi asks, "are you sure that you want Him to come?" "Who can endure the day of His coming? And who can stand when He appears?" (
). It's easy to say, "Won't it be great when Jesus comes again?" But if our personal and family lives are not right with God, we will be terrified at Jesus' coming, because He is holy and He will judge everyone. Praise God, a
lthough the coming of the Messiah is sudden, it is not without warning (and thus again is my Code 3 sense of urgency to share the hope that is found ONLY in Him). Consider the following:
(a) GOD GRACIOUSLY SENDS HIS MESSENGER TO PREPARE THE WAY FOR HIS MESSIAH (3:1 -- the "warning")
Malachi is referring here to Isaiah's prophecy, "
A voice is calling, 'Clear the way for the Lord in the wilderness; make smooth in the desert a highway for our God
). This was a prophecy of John the Baptist, the forerunner whose ministry God used to prepare the way for Jesus Christ. John's father prophesied of him while he was yet a baby, "
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go on before the Lord to prepare His ways; to give to His people the knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins, ...
). Jesus would go on to apply Malachi's prophecy to John (
) predicted that Elijah will come before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. The disciples asked Jesus, "
Why then do the scribes say that Elijah must come first?" Jesus answered, "Elijah is coming and will restore all things; but I say to you, that Elijah already came, and they did not recognize him,..." Matthew adds, "Then the disciples understood that He had spoken to them about John the Baptist
Thus Malachi's prophecy has a double fulfillment. John the Baptist was the messenger who came in the spirit and power of Elijah, to prepare the way for the Lord's first coming. Before Jesus' second coming, there will be two witnesses who powerfully bear witness (
). It is likely that one of these witnesses will be Elijah himself.
The imagery of preparing the way before the Lord came from the custom of clearing the road and preparing a town for the visit of the king. Before the king traveled, he sent out messengers who proclaimed his coming. They didn't have road crews back then to keep the highways in good shape. So when the townspeople heard that the king was coming, they would go out and fill in the ruts and potholes, and clear away rocks and debris. They got everything ready for the coming of their king.
God in His grace does not come upon us unannounced. If He did, He would often find our lives in shambles. We get sloppy about sin. There are potholes and ruts, with rocks strewn all over the place. So He graciously sends His messenger to proclaim, "The Lord is coming! Get ready! Fill in the potholes of sin! Clear out the rocks of self-centeredness and pride. Repent and bring forth fruit in keeping with repentance" (see
Matthew 3:2, 8
). Today, I'm playing that forward by also encouraging us to, "Be prepared! Get ready! The King is coming!" As
1 John 3:3
tells us, "
has this hope fixed on Him purifies himself, just as He is pure
(b) THE MESSIAH WILL COME SUDDENLY, both to purify his people and to judge the wicked (3:1-6).
When Malachi says in
The Lord whom you seek" and "
the messenger of the covenant, in whom you delight," he is using irony. In effect, he is saying, "You're asking, 'Where is the God of justice? We want to see Him.' So, you're looking for Him? Let me tell you, He is coming. In fact, He is coming suddenly! But you need to ask, 'Can I endure the day of His coming? Can I stand when He appears?' Because when He comes, He is going to clean house on Israel and He is going to judge all the wicked. So if you really seek Him, you'd better get ready to meet Him!"
You may wonder, "How can the Lord's coming be sudden when it has been announced by His messenger?" Pastor and author Stephen Cole answered with this illustration: "Some of you recall when Mount St. Helens blew its top in 1980. Geologists knew that something was brewing. They could see the bulge on the side of the mountain and they could measure the increasingly threatening tremors. They warned the local residents to get out of there.
But did they leave? Some did, but others didn't. There was one old man named Harry Truman who had lived there for decades. When the newscasters interviewed him, he said that the mountain had been there for centuries. He didn't believe that it would blow up, so he wasn't going to move. But suddenly, one morning the mountain exploded. Harry Truman and others like him who had ignored the warnings perished. Destruction came on them suddenly."
Let me be clear. Jesus is telling us, "I am coming back suddenly to judge the earth. None who ignore this warning will escape!" Do you say to yourself, "Yeah, sure! I know that Jesus is coming, but He hasn't come for almost 2,000 years. There's no sense getting all worked up about it. I've got time before I need to repent." Really? Don't bet eternity on that false "feeling." In His first recorded words as He began his earthly ministry that culminated in his own death and resurrection, Jesus said,
"The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel." (Mark 1:15 -- with "believe" as used here literally meaning, "complete and total surrender")
Malachi shows us who this coming Messiah is and what He will do, first with regard to His true people (those who are genuinely born again in Him alone --
John 3:1-21, 14:6), and then with those who have rejected Him as Lord and Savior (the lost/unsaved).
So how then should we live in this evil world? "
When Evil Comes"? Let me start by sharing three
brief words of encouragement for believers (the saved):
(1) TRUST GOD BY GUARDING YOUR ATTITUDE WHEN YOU GO THROUGH TRIALS.
If you find yourself doubting whether God loves you or whether He really will punish the wicked, get alone in His presence. Read
, where the author was struggling with the same issue, until he went into the sanctuary of God. There he realized, "
My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever
). Then read
, which assures us that God's discipline stems from His love for us as His children. His aim is that we might share His holiness and enjoy the peaceful fruit of righteousness (
). Trust Him!
(2) OBEY GOD BY HOLDING TO HIS ABSOLUTE MORAL STANDARDS.
The people in Malachi's day were saying, "
Everyone who does evil is good in the sight of the Lord, and He delights in them"
). In other words, morals do not matter, because God doesn't immediately zap the wicked; in fact, they seem to prosper. We live in a day when even the church (so-called believers) is joining the culture in abandoning God's moral absolutes. But our holy God does not change (
)! His moral standards do not shift with the winds of the times. If His Word calls something sin, then it still is sin! When someone breaks God's moral standards and seems to be doing just fine, don't be deceived. God is not mocked. Whatever a man sows, he will reap (
(3) OBEY GOD BY DEVELOPING COMPASSION FOR EVIL PEOPLE WHO NEED HIS GRACE (again, that "Code 3" sense of urgency I keep talking about).
These people wanted God to take out (kill, destroy) the prosperous, wicked pagans, but Malachi obediently shows that by pointing their finger at others, they had three fingers pointing back at themselves! The fact is, without Christ,
NONE are good
(or innocent) and we ALL all deserve God's judgment.
I'll close with this: when you see evil prevailing and you long for that "new heavens and new earth, in which righteousness dwells" (2 Peter 3:13), remember God's reason for delaying judgment: "The Lord is not slow about His promise, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9). Ask God to give you His heart of compassion for sinners, so that He can use you to reach out to them with the good news of Messiah's first coming and the warning of His second coming. When evil comes, don't challenge God. Trust Him and obey His Word. In His time, His promise to send His Messiah to judge the earth will be fulfilled.
Amen? We are indeed living in a time when Isaiah 5:20 is being played out before us (today at Judge Kavanaugh's hearing, for example): "What sorrow for those who say that evil is good and good is evil, that dark is light and light is dark, that bitter is sweet and sweet is bitter." (NLT)
Friend, understand that help "When Evil Comes" is ultimately available ONLY to those who have repented of their sin and turned to Christ in faith for their forgiveness and salvation. Is that you? Are you sure? Then again c
onsider the following:
(1) Do you cling to the false hope that you can "earn" or otherwise "badge" your way into heaven and escape hell because you are a so-called "good" cop or "good" (innocent) person? Take
Good Person Test
and see how you do.
esus' first recorded words in His earthly ministry were and remain, "
Repent and believe in the Good News
is a "180" -- a complete, radical change of mind and heart as it relates our sin. To
(pisteuo in the original Greek) as Jesus intends it here is to cry out to God for your salvation and wholeheartedly
surrender in faith to Christ
in the same way we have "faith" that our body armor will do its job against the rounds it is intended to stop, that our weapons will function properly in when facing criminals intent on destroying us, or that a warrior's parachute will open when it is supposed to (we stake our very lives on it)! And the "Good News"? That is simply the Gospel of Christ!
(3) This same concept of "
" (the saving/changing kind) is further revealed in
where Jesus says, "...
you must be born again.
" Note our Lord's emphasis on the word "
" (not "may" or "should"): this is ultimately the
personal relationship (and NOT "religion") with Jesus Christ that I stress here every week (see
What does it mean to be a born again Christian
?) through which we are in fact made "righteous" before a just and Holy God.
Have you said "yes" to Jesus as your Lord and Savior but are wondering what to do next? Then
Understand that the "Now what?" MUST include regular "iron sharpens iron" fellowship with other believers -- including (for us cops) other mature Christians and Christian officers who can help support you, encourage you, disciple (help you grow) you in the faith while holding you lovingly accountable. Message me for help in doing that!
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